Umpires Strike Back


They got it right, but what’s next? Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The current Don of Baseball’s legacy might be influenced by his strong-arm enforcement of instant replay in 2014. The Don (Bud Selig) applauded the officiating crew’s overturning of the missed play at second base during game 1.  But are these umpires demonstrating their dislike for the proposed instant replay mandate by showing that they can do it without slow motion?

2014’s new expanded reply is being discussed as if it is a finished like Brett Favre, but factually it has not been finalized yet.  Blue might not be ready to give in without a fight judging from the other night’s madness.

Although Don Selig has not even finalized when the owners will vote on instant replay (November or January), he seems to know more about the outcome than the public.  Even with the owners signing off on something that will alter America’s pastime forever, like it did in football, basketball and tennis, the MLB Players Association and the World Umpires Association have to endorse the system as well.

So why is the Godfather so confident?  Maybe he has made offers that cannot be refused and there is nothing that can be done like during the 2002 All-Star Game, when he ended the game with a tie.

Don Selig plans a meeting at a hideout in New Jersey. Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The crew’s reversal of the bad call was groundbreaking because it hadn’t been done before.  The vital question here is why any umpire would follow John Farrell‘s ranting requests and use teamwork to second guess a previous decision.

Umpire Dana DeMuth was the first umpire to disregard the unwritten rule of managers complaints being ignored. Game 1 of the World Series is not the time for such a revelation to premiere.

“That’s not a play I’ve ever seen before. And I’m pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that had never seen that play before, either. It’s a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series.” Mike Matheny argued after Monday’s massacre when three runs scored after the dumbfounding controversy.

It sure would have been nice if Don Denkinger could have conferred with his cohorts after missing a call at first base during game 6 of the 1985 World Series.  Maybe then the Birdinals would be playing for 13 in 13′.

Regardless of the past, the current crew calling the 2013 Fall Classic games appear to be making a statement.  They proved they can correct their errors, possibly because they fear being downsized in the future due to technology.

There might be more pow-wows in the infield through next week at Busch III and the oddly shaped park on Yawkey Way, and if there are, the umpires might prove their point and take a stand against the commissioner before any votes are casted.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports